How Can I Politely Let Customers Know I Can’t Help Them?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about how to handle calls for assistance that aren’t really part of the work.

Question: A couple of months ago I got a new job as a system design architect. That is basically a fancy way of saying that I install smart home technology and audio systems. We put in a lot of Televisions for home theaters and there are a lot of people that believe we are like TV repairmen.

read more

Why Should I Step Back After Doing The Work?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about how to respond to being shut out on a project after doing all of the foundational work.

I’ve led the development of an application from project conception to many successful deployments in my department while also actively working as senior programmer. I’ve had the support and respect of the project leadership and sponsors from the beginning. However, over the years another team in another department attempted to develop the exact same application and failed many times. I have now been asked to collaborate with this team, and was told by my manager that the team will now take over the project going forward.

read more

What Is Indirect Counseling?

Question: What is the meaning of indirect counseling?

Is your question prompted by some incident in which you were told that you were being counseled this way? Our expertise is in communication-related work questions. We don’t claim psychological clinical certification; however, we have had considerable education in psychology. Based on that, the term indirect counseling dates back to the  work of Carl Rogers and others (1950’s) who advocated that those seeking personal advice are best served by not being told how to solve their problems but guided to reflect on causes and possible solutions to problems. 

read more

What Can I Do If I Think I’m Being Blackballed By An Employer?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors: I believe I’ve been blackballed by an employer. It stems from taking a test that I had to pass and I didn’t pass it. (Test taking anxiety. ) They wouldn’t let me take it again. I applied for another job with a company that is under the same contract as the manager of the first company, and they said I was not eligible for hire. Is there any course of action I can take? Or just make sure I avoid this employer?

read more

Micromanaged and Overworked: What Can I Do?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors: I am the Head of Operations at a hospital and the pressure is as imagined. This administrative role involves ensuring the business and process end of the Organization is in form. I am also in charge of business development for the Hospital.

I have been burdened with a checklist which the Medical Director demands to see everyday (this is because I have not been diligent with it). The problem is this checklist is not completed through a reported format. It involves me directly unearthing a thousand and one possible process errors committed by any of our medical and non-medical staff in the previous day – from billing to drug request process errors. By the time, I get through correcting things and informing Department Heads, the day is almost gone.

read more

How Can I Stop an Affair With My Boss?

Note: This was a very complex situation. We have changed and condensed the question considerably, to protect the identity of the person asking the question. However, we thought our response would be helpful to others.

Question: Several years ago, as a very young employee, I was going through some personal issues and my boss, who is twice my age, helped me work through them. The result was that we became close and have been in an affair since then. Now, however, I want to end it so I can start having a normal life with friends and people my own age. I’m also tired of juggling my schedule to have stolen moments.

read more

Should My Manager Be Allowed to Call Me a B–?

Question: I work at a carry-out restaurant. I have three managers. Two of them I get along with very well, but I have always felt like the other manager has something against me. I’m 16, this is my first job, and I try to do my best at work.

Today we were really slow and we had stocked everything and cleaned everything. We had no orders out and there was nothing to do. I was talking to one of my coworkers about a video of me. She asked to see it and I pulled out my phone.

read more

My Boss Won’t Use My Name

Question:  I work for family owned business. The owner and his two sons are white. One employee is White, one is Hispanic and I am Black. My boss addresses me as “ helper”, never by my name. I’ve been there a year. I’m feeling discriminated against. What should I do?

Response: I’m not clear on how someone could avoid calling someone by their first or last name for a full year! Does he say, “Hi, Helper, how was your weekend?” Or, “Bill, why don’t you and Helper work on this?” That would seem very odd. Or, does he just introduce you as a helper in the company? Or, put you on the organizational chart as “Helper” instead of putting your name? I would like to know more about that!

read more